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Page last updated at 10:46 GMT, Wednesday, 27 August 2008 11:46 UK

Evans concern for NI qualifiers

Jonny Evans
Jonny Evans has not training for a week because of a hip injury

Jonny Evans appears to be Northern Ireland's main fitness worry for the World Cup qualifiers against Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

Nigel Worthington has named Evans in the squad for the 6 and 10 September games but the defender is not training at the moment because of a hip injury.

George McCartney, Keith Gillespie, Aaron Hughes and Kyle Lafferty return after missing the friendly in Scotland.

Partick Thistle goalkeeper Jonathan Tuffey earns a first call-up.

Roy Carroll is an absentee from the squad after indicating earlier this summer that he would not travel to games unless he was guaranteed to start.

Therefore, U21 international Tuffey will join regular number one Maik Taylor and Linfield's Alan Mannus on the plane to Slovakia.


McCartney missed the game at Hampden Park because of pneumonia but he resumed training last week and is scheduled to play for West Ham on Wednesday evening.

Keith Gillespie has also resumed training after missing the game in Scotland because of an ankle probem while Aaron Hughes has recovered from a similar problem.

Kyle Lafferty is also included in the squad after missing the Scotland game because of a hamstring injury.

Worthington is confident of his squad's chances

Lafferty has resumed training and is in contention to return to Rangers duty this weekend.

Ryan McGivern retains his place in the squad after his late-up for the game in Scotland.

McGivern is available for the 6 September game as his sending-off against the Scots was in a friendly fixture.

"We have a nice solid squad with good experience in the right positions," said managr Worthington.

"We also have young, energetic talent and I am more than happy with the group I have picked.

"We will be looking for good performances and two wins. But to achieve them we need to be focused 100% both on and off the pitch."

Worthington said he was pleased the club futures of record scorer David Healy and Steven Davis had been resolved.

Healy sealed a move to Sunderland after finding himself on the fringes at Fulham, while Davis converted a loan switch from Craven Cottage into a permanent move to Rangers.

Worthington said: "It is a huge challenge for David and he will be looking forward to that.

"One thing you know is that when he is with Northern Ireland he loves training and performing."

Northern Ireland squad:

Goalkeepers: M Taylor (Birmingham City), A Mannus (Linfield), J Tuffey (Partick Thistle).

Defenders: C Baird (Fulham), S Craigan (Motherwell), G McAuley (Ipswich Town), J Evans (Manchester United), M Duff (Burnley), R McGivern (Manchester City), G McCartney (West Ham), A Hughes (Fulham).

Midfielders: S Davis (Rangers), K Gillespie (Sheffield United), M O'Connor (Crewe Alexandra), S Clingan (Norwich City), C Brunt (West Bromwich Albion), D Shiels (Hibernian).

Forwards: D Healy (Sunderland), P Thompson (Stockport County), W Feeney (Cardiff City - on loan at Dundee United), M Paterson (Burnley), K Lafferty (Rangers).

see also
Pick your N Ireland XI
06 Jun 07 |  Internationals
Worthington praises solid display
20 Aug 08 |  Internationals
Scotland 0-0 Northern Ireland
20 Aug 08 |  Internationals
N Ireland secure Hungary friendly
22 Jul 08 |  Internationals
Worthington in Euro 2008 mission
11 Jun 08 |  Internationals
Worthington happy with NI group
25 Nov 07 |  Internationals

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